tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 1, 2013 6:00am-7:00am EST
consistent with the policy as a country as a whole. i support of legislation to create a bipartisan commission several years ago to help us. senator levin and others supported. the house supported and it passed, to help us determine how much further we could continue to draw down our nuclear weapons. john glenn was on it, lee hamilton, james woolsey, they had access to the defense department secret documents and information and they came out with quite a different view. let me point out some of the things they came up with. they said maintain the triad. they said maintain tactical
nuclear weapons. they recommended no change in the alert status. the defense department's nuclear posture review under president obama and secretary gates found the alert status should not be altered. they fundamentally found a need for nuclear-weapons. that's the point. your commission basically says it undermines their request for nuclear-weapons. i will give you a chance to respond. global zero foresaw this argument before your report was issued. they said "the conditions that might make possible the global elimination of nuclear weapons are not present today and their creation would require a
fundamental transformation of the world political order. that's a very strong statement and i think it was aimed at this idea that it is practical and realistic for us to expect the world is going to move to zero nuclear weapons. so i want to ask you one question you told us in your meeting and i appreciate it. president obama stated when we did the new start treaty discussion -- "i intend to modernize or replace the triad of strategic nuclear systems, a heavy bomber and air launched cruise missiles and icbm is and
nuclear-powered ballistic missiles -- ballistic missile submarines." and he committed to accelerate the design of the two buildings where modernization would take place and request full funding for those projects. first, let me ask you would you support that vision and commitment the president made? >> absolutely, i do. >> i am uneasy about this vision expressed in that committee report of yours. >> let me briefly come back to what you said, and i appreciate you giving me a chance to respond. first, my record has always been very clear -- everything i voted on in my career in less than it is where i have been a strong, agile, safe, secure, effective
nuclear arsenal for the united states is not debatable. i've voted that way, i believe that, you know the home of the strategic command is now in senator fisher's state which i used to be in that state as a senator. it hasn't changed. i know a little something about it. not as much as you and others in the committee, but i've been to the facility many times. i know general taylor well and know the commanders very well. you know what the motto is -- it is a significant motto -- peace is our business. what has kept the peace, as i noted my opening statement, as much as anything since world war ii, is that strong nuclear
deterrent. the next prospective secretary of defense would never do anything or take any action that would minimize, harm or downgrade that reality. but again, not to get caught up in this report, this report was about illustrative possibilities how could things be done. always a bilateral, always verifiable, always negotiable, just as we have always done in our treaties. that's the commitment i made to you and i made to the president. my record is clear that. >> thank you. i would say the vision stated in your global zero report i believe is likely to create instability rather than confidence, create uncertainty among our allies and potential
adversaries and i do not believe it would meet the goal you set not to weaken our ability. i'm troubled -- i appreciate your comments today, but i'm troubled by the language in that report. >> thank you. >> in the six years i have served on the committee, i've served under senator warner as a ranking republican member and his senator mccain as a ranking republican member. i've got to tell you there has never been a time i did not sense that we all agreed our work on behalf of our nation in terms of protecting our country and defending our country that it was a bipartisan effort. i believe very strongly that this committee needs to be bipartisan, and i hope the new
ranking member holds the same regard for that as senator mccain and senator warner did because at all times, i felt they were respectful and willing to listen to our disagreements. i am hopeful that will continue and i will be optimistic it will. i'm going to ask a series of questions. do you believe all options should be on the table when we confront iran? >> i do. >> do you believe iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and provides support to hezbollah and hamas? >> yes, and i am on the record a number of times saying that. >> do you support sanctions against iran? >> yes. >> do you believe the allied states should unilaterally eliminate its nuclear arsenal? >> no. >> do you agree with henry
kissinger, george shultz, when they said "the four of us have come together in a non-partisan effort deeply committed to building support for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. we remain committed to working toward this vision and advancing the steps essential to achieve this goal." do you agree with those for bipartisan national leaders in the area of national security and foreign policy? >> yes. >> i wanted to take a few minutes to talk about some of the things we talked about in my office and some people are saying here she goes. the audit ability of the defense department.
i know you want to hold people accountable. i don't think most americans realize as we face shrinking budgets and want to secure the pre-eminence of our military and not hollow out the spending at the defense department, that auditability is crucial. can you reassure me that auditability needs to happen no later than 2017? can you make a commitment that will be a priority, making sure as secretary panetta did at secretary gates did, that that's going to be an essential priority? >> as i told you, senator, i will make that commitment to this committee. >> then turning to contracting
i have yet to have provided to me other than raw numbers we spent any data that indicates any major infrastructure rebuilding as part of a counterinsurgency works. there are many things that work in a counterinsurgency strategy. one of them as it was originally posed to me six years ago on this committee by general petraeus was the commanders emergency response program, the walking around money to fix plate glass windows, that was an essential part of the strategy. that morphed into our military building major infrastructure projects without any data to indicate the billions of dollars we were spending was in fact advancing our military mission. in addition to that, it is clear
if you want to look at iraq and the failures iraq represents in some ways, one of the failures is the crumbling investments this country made in iraq. the health centers that never opened, the water park that sit crumbling, the power facilities that were blown up before they had an opportunity to operate. i can go down billions of dollars of waste because we did not do the analysis on sustainability after we left. i am convinced we have made this same mistakes in afghanistan and i would like your response to this issue of major infrastructure building while we are in a conflict being conducted by our military, not by aid, not by the state department, and whether he would make a commitment to come back
to this committee with analyzing data as whether that's a part of the coin strategy. >> i will make that commitment and it's part of a larger series of questions and factors always involved when a nation and its clearly committed, as we still are in afghanistan and were in iraq for years. when you are at war, the highest first priority is to take care of your people. as a result of that, all the rest of the normal latitude and guidance and theory, policy is secondary. in both of those wars, because we got ourselves in so deep with so many people, and the welfare
of our men and women was paramount, we tried a lot of things. we had never been this way before. we had never seen anything like these two situations. as a result, and you know, our special inspector generals have come up with billions and billions and billions of dollars that are unaccounted for. corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, it is quite astounding, but when you think about the universe of money that went into both of those wars, no one should be surprised. how do we fix it? what we do? how'd we learn from this? we need to learn from this. it was not the fault of the military. the military was asked to do everything.
we overloaded the circuits of our military. we said you do it, you got the money, you got the structure, you got the organization and the people, go do it. so we put these young captains in very difficult spots. these young captains were given $100,000 in cash, essentially walking around money, to take care of tribal chiefs and so on. it wasn't their fault. they were told to do it. it was part of the strategy. i don't question any particular strategy or part of it, but i think it's part of the whole you are talking about, and if i am confirmed and go over there, i will take a look at, and will go
deeper and wider into this because we owe it to our people, the people of this country to pay the bills and for the future. what did we learn for future challenges? >> thank you. >> congratulations on your nomination. you and i have been good friends since i came to the senate in 2002 and sat next to each other for six years on the intel committee and during that process, you cast some votes i questioned, but we were always able to dialogue and it never impacted our friendship. i'm very appreciative of that. you also introduced two of my dearest friends, senator nunn and senator warner. this is the number-one issue we're going to have to deal with the issue of our relationship with iran and where we go in the future. short-term as well as long term.
you wrote in your book -- "we blundered into iraq because of flawed intelligence, flawed assumptions, flawed judgments, and ideologically-driven motives. we must not repeat these errors with iran and the best way to avoid them is to maintain an effective dialogue." you then go on to advocate for a "direct and strategic diplomatic initiative." i heard you in your opening comments say your position on iran is prevention, not containment when it comes to their nuclear weapons. i want you to expand on that and go back to senator inhofe and senator reed's comments on why you did not designate iran as the no. 1 terrorist sponsor state in the world. i want you to expand and your
position on a nuclear weaponized iran and talk about red lines. if your position is prevention and not containment, what is the redline? what is the point? we know there are things happening there right now that are very serious. how far do we go? do you still advocate direct negotiations with iran as you said and made clear that all options were on the table and stated again that military options is one of those. if you will -- we have never negotiated with a terrorist state. why do you feel we ought to dialogue with them even on this issue today? lastly, what alterations, if any, do you think are necessary to our military force posture in the gulf region to deter iranian regional ambitions and support
international diplomatic efforts to stop iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability? it's a broad statement of my part and a broader question, but this is the issue from a national-security standpoint and i would like to be pretty specific. >> let's start with the specific question on a vote regarding designating the revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization. you recall because you were there, there were 22 senators who voted against that. the effort against it, the main point made on the floor of the senate came from senator jim webb. his point was we have never, ever designated part of a legitimate government, a state when i say legitimate, it
doesn't mean we agree with iran, it is a member of the united nations. almost all of our allies have embassies in iran. that is why i note an elected legitimate government whether we agree or not. we have never made any part of illegitimate independent government, designated them or made them part of a terrorist organization. we've just never done that. and you say so what, what is the problem? the problem was at least 22 of us believe, both republicans and democrats, but it was jim webb who was on the floor most of the time, said if you do that, it's tantamount to giving the president of the united states authority to use military force
against iran without having to come back to get a resolution from or partner with or cooperate with the congress of the united states. essentially, if we vote for that, we're giving the president that authority. you can agree or disagree with that, but i listened to that debate and there was some pretty thoughtful debate and i thought that debate was pretty powerful with me. we were already in two wars at the time and i thought this made sense, so i voted against it. that is why i voted against it. you might also remember secretary designate kerry voted against it.
senator obama voted against it, senator biden voted against it and senator lugar voted against it. as to the iranian red line, the persian gulf and some of the iranian questions, i support the president's strong position on containment as i have said. i will speak more specifically to a couple of the examples you used from my book. his position is i think right and when you ask the question of our red lines, i think the president has gone as far as he should go publicly. he has said clearly that in his words, he has israel's back. he said his policy is not to
allow the iranians to get a nuclear weapon. what constitutes when action would be taken, that is always something that should not be discussed publicly or debated in the public domain. your quotations from my book which you acknowledge i always said the military option should be on the table and i have said that consistently as well as engaging with iran, i have always thought it is a far smarter to approach these very serious threats, including iran, probably as significant a threat we have out there today, although north korea is beyond a threat, it is a real nuclear power and quite unpredictable. i think pakistan is another very
complicated reality, but staying on iran, i think we're far smarter to do what president has been doing, which i laid out in my book. i have a chapter on iran, two chapters on iraq, and a chapter on the middle east. getting the world community behind us with these u.n. sanctioned sanctions through the security council of the united nations, these are tough sanctions and they are having a tremendous impact. you know that. if the military option is the only one required, we are always on higher ground in every way, international law, domestic law, people of the world, people of the region to be with us on this. if we have tried and gone through this in a responsible way, everything i have said in
my book was about that. i don't have a problem with engaging. i think engagement is clearly in our interest. that's not negotiation. engagement in is not appeasement or surrender. i think the time is right, the climate is right, the dynamics are right, we should find ways if we can. we cannot force it, but i think we are always smarter and wiser to take that approach initially. posture in the persian gulf -- as you know, our fifth fleet is located in the persian gulf. we have a couple of carrier battle groups in that area. our military posture their is very strong. it is very ready and very capable.
if these are contingencies and options the secretary of defense, working with these chiefs and combat and commanders have to give them make sure we are prepared. i may have missed some of the specific things he wanted to discuss. >> i'm understanding to say you are not ready to discuss redlines in a specific way, and my hearing that right? >> i don't think that is my role now to start with. i am not the secretary of defense, but i think the president is wise in his course of action in not discussing that publicly. i think it is a far smarter way to handle it and i think he has said what he needs to say. i think it has been understood in iran and i think the world understand his position.
i've just been handed a note that i misspoke and said i supported the president's position on containment. if i said that, i meant to say we don't have a position on containment. i recognize i had more attention paid to my words the last eight weeks than i ever thought possible, so i don't take any chances. >> i think i understood you correctly on containment and prevention. >> just to make sure that is clear, we do have a position on containment and that we do not favor contentment. >> that is the president's position. >> i just wanted to clarify the clarify.
>> if it needs further clarification, that's why i'm here. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning senator hagel. thank you for your willingness to heed the call and had a part of defense. we had a good meeting last week and covered many of the threats and challenges our country faces shrinking budgets, a strategic national security shifts and as you have underlined over and over again, we continue to provide fair and equal opportunities for all our service members and their families. i appreciate your opportunity and i will take you look better you -- up on your offer if you are confirmed to continue sitting down with you as a member of the armed services committee. i know this issue has already been addressed but i want to make sure i'm on the record is raising my concerns and this committee should give you every
opportunity to clarify and underline your point of view. when we met privately, you emphasized your determination to keep all options on the table with regard to iran, including a military strike if iraq and continues to pursue a nuclear program in defiance of its international obligations. you also discussed your longstanding approach to israel, but you have critics out there who maintain your record on iran is in question and you are anti- israel. these are serious charges. let me direct some questions your way. why should americans trust you will consider every option when it comes to one of the most serious national security threats today, which is iran? >> first, thank you for an opportunity to clarify these issues. my record has been very clear on iran. senator chambliss noted it from my book that i said the military
option must remain on the table. i said that as recently in an op-ed i co-authored last year in the "washington post" with two centcom commanders. with all of the diplomacy, economics and sanctions the president is using, which is that i support. my record is rather thorough on this and i will continue to support that position and strongly support the president's position. >> senator, talk about your view on israel, our relationship with israel, how can we continue to have a special alliance with a country with whome we share more
than an economic or political philosophy, but with a moral connection we have to israel? >> i have said many times, just as i have with the military option on iran, speeches on the floor and interviews i've given, i am a strong supporter of israel. i have been and will continue to be. i have also said specifically that we have a special relationship with israel. again, my record is pretty clear. i voted 12 years in the united states senate for every authorization, every appropriation, that i had an opportunity to vote on for israel. i've been to israel many times and met with their leaders many times. again, if you look at my record, my record is pretty clear of my strong support for israel. >> senator, i heard you say when
you discussed your vote against the resolution applying it to the iranian revolutionary guard, that in the end -- -- when it comes to declaring war. is that right? >> that's exactly what i say. this was the point. and again, i say it like i have in answering some of the other questions. it wasn't the question of the objective. i mean, i shared the objective, and i expect the others that supported the resolution objected. but as jim webb made the case and senator webb was an individual that had considerable experience in this business. he had been secretary of the navy under ronald reagan and
assistant secretary of defense under ronald reagan and one of the most decorated veterans of vietnam. united states senator. celebrated author. lawyer. and i thought he made a pretty strong, persuasive case. so did many of us. >> let's turn to cyber security. i was pleased that you mentioned cyber security in your initial remarks. the pentagon has moved expand its cyber security efforts. i have to talk about colorado. the air force academy is well positioned to train those new experts. would you talk a little more on your take on cyber security and what sort of resources we need. >> i've been to those facilities in colorado a few times and don't know as much about them as you do, but i am familiar with them. they are essential to our national security. cyber, i believe represents as
big a threat to the security of this country as any one specific threat. for all the reasons this committee understands. it's an insidious, quiet, kind of a threat that we have never quite seen before. it can paralyze a nation in a second. not just a power grid or banking system. but it can knock out satellites. it can take down computers on all our carrier battle ships and do tremendous damage to our national security apparatus. that is the larger threat. but when you start defining it down, this body, i know. i watched it. it went through a pretty agonizing three months at the end of 2012 trying to find a bill they could agree on, on cyber.
i know or i believe the congress will come back at it in this new congress. i think you must, and you know that. because we have different intergovernmental offices. department of homeland security, d.o.d. where is the capacity? where are the budgets? where are the authorities? this is law enforcement. privacy. business. a lot of complications that we've really never had to face before on other national defense threats to this country. so cyber will be an area that we'll continue to focus on. we must. and it's an area that i will put a high priority on if i am confirmed to be secretary of defense. >> senator in the 2013 ndaa,
there's a provision that compels to -- religious beliefs. i am concerned this could lead to misguided claims to discriminate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members with certain briefs. the department of defense will "not condone discriminatory actions against good order or otherwise violate military codes of conduct." will you ensure the department of defense in accommodating religious beliefs or other beliefs does not constant constitute harm to others? >> i will faithfully, diligently enforce our laws. all men and women deserve the same rights and i can assure you that will be a high priority to enforce and assure that through the entire chain of
command and accountability. >> thank you, senator hagel. i look forward to the second round of questions. it's now afternoon. thank you. >> thank you senator. senator wicker? >> let me just follow up on that. does that mean a chaplain would have to perform a same-sex marriage in your view if he objected based on conscience? >> well i think the pentagon regulations show that same-sex marriage is legal in nine states. >> would a chaplain be able to bow out of that procedure based on conscience? >> certainly. what we don't want, though, is senator his point is for someone to be denied to be married in a chapel or a facility and so on. but certainly as a matter of conscience, yes. what i'm talking about is strict
interpretation of defending the law which defends rights. >> thank you for clarifying that and thank you for calling me early on. we had our conversation on january 8, and i appreciated that opportunity. you just said that your statements over time have been have gotten a lot more attention than you ever dreamed possible. that is entirely appropriate in this context. chairman levin mentioned that in his opening statement that in speaking your mind you had said several things that caused him concern, and he asked you about that. senator inhofe said several of your statements included what he called policy reversals based on expediency. you and i talked about two of these topics during our conversation.
and one of them was in regard to sanctions against iran. you told me in our conversation that you opposed unilateral sanctions because they don't work and they isolate the united states. indeed you had made that statement tuesday. the omaha paper. i had not supported unilateral sanctions because when it's us alone they don't work and they just isolate the united states. in the omaha paper. i'll have to say that that statement seems to be in direct contradiction to your letter to senator boxer one week later. when you told her -- and i quote, "i agree that with iran's
continued rejection of overtures, sanctions both multilateral and unilateral may be necessary." now a week before that, you said that you have opposed them because they don't work. senator levin mentioned in his statement that he disagrees with that. he believes they do work. you gave him an answer to that statement, and we have it on the record. but let me just suggest to you senator that if words have meaning, there's no two ways about it, the statement that you gave in the omaha paper and that you gave to me the following day is substantially and substantively different from what you wrote to senator boxer a week later. the office of secretary of defense is one of the most powerful positions in the country and arguably in the
world, and this official, whoever he or she is, must lead with clarity and precision, and people around the world need to rely on the clear meaning of the words of the secretary of defense. now, the other thing we discussed that gave me concern during our conversation on january 8 was your statement about the jewish lobby. and you told me that you had apologized for using that terminology. and you retracted the use of the term jewish lobby. what you said was the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. this was in a book an interview that you gave to aaron david miller. and you said, i've always argued
against some of the dumb things they do, because i don't think it's in the interest of israel. here's my problem with your position at this point. you have corrected the term jewish lobby. and i assume now the correct term would be israel lobby or israeli lobby. do you still stand by your statement that they succeed in this town, that they succeed in this town because of intimidation, and that it amounts to us -- causing us to do dumb things? because senator, you are here today as a potential secretary of defense, and it would seem to me that however you characterize them, you have suggested that there is an effective lobby out there, whether you call them the jewish lobby, the israeli lobby or israel lobby and that they succeed on doing dumb things through intimidation and that
u.s. policy has been the wrong approach, because the intimidation has worked. so when you talked about the jewish lobby, were you talking about apack? minor pack? christians united or israel? and do you still believe that their success in this town is because of intimidation and that they are, as you stated, urging upon our government that we do dumb things? >> well, first, i have never been accused of political expediency. probably got me in some trouble, senator.
second, to address the last comment and we'll go back to sanctions. i've already said i regret referencing the jewish lobby. i should have said pro-israel lobby. i think it's the only time on the record that i've ever said that. now, you all have done a lot of work with my record, and yes, it's appropriate, by the way. any nominee's record, what he or she thinks, says, does, absolutely. i was on your side of the -- for 12 years, so i understand that and that responsibility. so i don't have any problem with that. as i've already noted that i should have used another term, and i'm sorry, and i regret it. the use of intimidation. i should have used influence. i think would have been more appropriate. we were talking about in that book, and you've evidently read
it, aaron david miller's book and by the way, it's a book "much to promised land," he has spoken out directly in the last few weeks, written an op-ed about my opinion because it's gotten a lot of attention, but it's been quite favorable to me and said much of it was taken out of context and was offended by those words. those of you who know aaron david miller, you know he is jewish and a highly-respected individual and also says in that interview, which is a fairly short interview, he mentions that i am a strong supporter of israel. that's in the interview. so i think that says something. i should not have said dumb or stupid.
because i understand and appreciate there are different views on these things. we were talking about israel. we were talking about the middle east. we are -- we were not talking about armenia or turkey or the banking influence. that's what the context of my comments were about. on your point on the conversations and the quote. a couple of points. let's go back to the ilsa vote. about the original vote during the clinton administration. and connect that to a comment i made in the world herald about they don't work. they are ineffective.
and by the way, i've already noted for the record here that i have supported and voted for some unilateral sanctions. i think i noted three specific ones that i recall. but on your specific questions about the specific comment. just to give you an example of what i was talking about. you were not in the senate at the time. some were. but those who were here in the senate might recall the european union's reaction to that ilsa act. i was not in the senate when that was voted on originally, so i didn't have a vote. but in 1988 the european union passed a resolution against the united states and threatened to take the united states to the world trade organization. as a consequence, secretary albright had to get into this and as a consequence to that
president clinton had to sign a waiver to allow a french oil company not to be part of that u.s. unilateral waiver. now, i'm not suggesting the united states action should be hostage to the european union or any other country but what i am suggesting is t are consequences to these actions. now every senator has their own position on these and will exercise their own judgment as they should and cast their own vote. so i don't think necessarily that there was a disconnect from what i said in the world herald to where i've been on international sanctions as to your specific point about supporting unilateral sanctions as well as -- sanctions as well as international sanctions in a letter to senator boxer. it is a different situation to start with. we already have very effective sanctions on iran.
>> are you saying those two statements don't contradict each other? the one to the omaha paper and the one to senator boxer? >> let me finish if i could, senator, my second point. my second point is this. where we are with iran today, the international sanctions that have been placed on iran, that puts iran and the united states in a far different place. than where we were in 2000 or 1991 or -- or in 1998 or 2001. when i did not support it and the bush administration didn't either. they didn't want a five-year re- imposition on ilsa. my point in making where we are today connecting that to
unilateral sanctions, then we've got a different situation. unilateral sanctions, because we've already got strong international sanctions, should be considered. i think the president is right to consider those. i would support that. because it's different than in 2001 or 1998. >> thank you senator. senator hagen? >> senator hagel, thank you for being here and for your service in our military and service in the u.s. senate and i also want to thank your wife and your family for standing with you today. you played an important role in supporting vietnam veterans affected by the exposure of agent orange. i've been involved in a similar set of circumstances at camp lejeune, and they continue to look at water contamination and the families and service men
stationed at the base in the 1980's that may have been exposed to the harmful development of cancers. the quest for answers looking into this has been long and drawn out and men, women and children were dying and/or going broke paying out of pocket for their treatment while they were waiting for these various studies. we in congress took action last year in the house and the senate, passed a bill that will provide for treatment of veterans and their family members through the v.a. and i continue to believe the families of those stationed at camp lejeune during those time periods deserve answers from the government about who was exposed and what impact that might have had on their health and what the government knew about this and i have been fighting with other senators on a bipartisan basis
and along the way progress has been slowed by endless bureaucratic delays and obstacles. my question to you is do you agree that these marines and families deserve complete answers about the water contamination that occurred at camp lejeune, and if so would you pledge to work with us to unblock the delays that hinder the pursuit for families. >> you will note we had a long conversation about this. i committed to you in your office and i will make this commitment do that. there should never, ever be a question about health and the safety and the environment that we put our men and women and their families in when we ask them to make sacrifices to serve this country, and i am committed to do that, and we will have
further conversations. >> i know you have answered a number of questions about israel already today, but i do have one i want to ask you also. there is a special and historic bond between the u.s. and israel. and i am personally committed to israel's security and identity as a jewish state. when we met earlier i was pleased to hear you agree and also support a two-state solution and oppose any unilateral declaration of a palestinian state. we also discussed the need for a strong military and intelligence engagement between the u.s. and israel. just last fall i was in israel and i have spoken with senior military officials from both countries and i have continually heard the ties between our military and our intelligence organization has never been stronger. if confirmed, do you intend to maintain this close relationship and do you have any idea for how we can further strengthen this
coordination? >> well, i once again reaffirm the commitment that i made to you, to this committee. i absolutely support the continuation and the strengthening of our relationship with israel. as has been noted before in my book. a chapter i have on israel. i talk about the special and historic relationship between the united states and israel. it is critically important that the qualitative military edge that we have assured israel since 1948, be maintain andaman enhanced. the iron dome is i think but one example. the latest military exercise we had with the israelis last fall
challenge. it was the largest military exercise between our two countries in the history of our two countries. i think our intelligence agencies are working closer and are stronger and more coordinated than ever before. i think this president has done as much to support israel as any president as i mentioned earlier, since harry truman, and i would look forward to continuing to follow those policies and enhance those policies. >> thank you. i wanted to answer a question on sequestration. stopping sequestration from occurring is -- in carolina we have two military installations and over 100,000 active service members in my state, and i do believe these cuts will impair our readiness and defer
necessary maintenance that will help keep our troops safe and delay research and procurement as well as stunt our economic recovery that this time. i don't believe we can allow these cuts to move forward. congress needs to work on a bipartisan basis on a balanced plan will help eliminate this threat of sequestration. also we have to reduce our areas of -- in our national defense. when we spoke earlier i was pleased to hear you did not support these indiscriminate, unprioritized cuts that sequestration would cause. if allowed to take effect, how would sequestration impact the ability to meet the future threats and challenges? as i shared with you i chaired the subcommittee on the threats and capabilities. so i'm particularly interested in your thoughts.
you were commenting on the cyber issues airforce basely being considered in the emerging threats and capability. so my question is what impact do you believe that these cuts would have on our service members and their families at home and abroad and in particular, the cuts in the sequestration, how would this impact areas such as cyber security and the other areas? >> well, first, as we have said this morning and you know the chiefs made very clear, secretary penetta. there would be serious consequences to the management of our defense department and our ability to have the flexibility and make the decisions not just for the -- but for the future. when you hang that kind of uncertainty over any institution, but especially the
institution charged with national security in our country, it's very dangerous. readiness is obviously deemed number one priority. and we'll continue to do that. the chiefs have already started to work through all this and in some of the public statements they have made, we are preparing for that. they will be prepared if in the event sequestration does take effect, we'll be ready to deal with it. but this is going to be very difficult. and we talked a little earlier here this morning about we're going to have to reduce training, flying time. but i think the american people do need to be reassured that secretary panetta and the security of this country is not going to be in jeopardy. but it's going to be difficult and it's going to affect longer-
term type of planning. but make no mistake if this happens it's going to be a severe problem. >> my time is up. thank you for your comments. >> we're going to work through the vote going on now but we're going to take a 10-minute recess right now and come right back and then we're going to call on senator aha and senator mansion. i urge them to vote and come back. we will now recess for 10 minutes. clacks the senate armed services committee is expected to hold a vote on the secretary of defense nomination next week. six republican senators, including four on this committee, have already said they will vote no. today, the atlantic council, an organization that chuck hagel was chairman of a, will be hosting a conversation about mali.
french forces are fighting a counterinsurgency in the northern part of the country. you can watch on c-span2 at 1:00 eastern time. "washington journal" is next, live with your phone calls. later, live coverage of the georgetown university law center discussion of how the 2012 political campaign will affect legislative fights in the 20 -- in the next congress. and my trust deficit ports government and the financial sector has impeded. economic recovery. -- impeded the economic recovery. than a look at american spending and savings habits. and savings habits.